Sweet and versatile North Atlantic langoustines – little cousins of the lobster – are now at their seasonal best. With a muddling array of monikers - also known as a Dublin Bay prawn, Norwegian lobster and scampi - this crustacean has not been fully appreciated despite being widely consumed.
1kg langoustines, heads removed
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
½ white onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
150ml white wine
1 litre fish stock
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
350ml double cream
A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, tarragon and chives, finely chopped, to garnish
1. Remove the meat from the langoustines’ tails. Crush the shells with a rolling pin.
2. Melt half the butter and the olive oil in a large pan and fry the garlic for a few minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrot and fennel seeds, and sauté for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
3. Add the bay leaf and shells and fry for 5 minutes, then add the white wine and stir. Boil on a high heat until the liquid has reduced by half.
4. Add the fish stock, 1 litre of water, the tomato purée and the paprika. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about an hour, until the liquid has again reduced by half.
5. Using a colander, separate the shells from the soup (you should have 750ml soup). Discard shells and return the soup to the heat.
6. About 10 minutes before serving, add 220ml of the cream. Taste the soup and season. Lightly whip the remaining cream.
7. Season the reserved langoustine meat. Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan and fry the langoustine for 3-5 minutes or until cooked. Divide the soup into bowls, spoon over the whipped cream, and top with the langoustine. Garnish with herbs and serve.
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